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13 anti-privatisation activists arrested for resisting pre-paid water meters
10 set 2003
Joburg Water, a subsidiary of the French water multinational, Suez-Lyonnaise, is currently colluding with the South African state to smash the struggle of the poor against the pre-paid water meter system!
South African and International comrades,
Greetings from the Anti-Privatisation Forum. As we hope all of you are now aware, there is presently a crucially important struggle against pre-paid water meters in the community of Phiri, Soweto that is being waged by the community with the active support of the APF and its affiliate in Soweto, the Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee.
The APF has, in its last two public statements on the struggle, indicated that Johannesburg Water (alongside the ANC-run Johannesburg City Council) have successfully applied for an interdict against all those resisting the installation of their pre-paid water meters. They are using this blatantly illegal and outrageous interdict to quash resistance. A total of 13 community members and APF/SECC activists have now been arrested. While the APF managed to secure both legal representation and bail for the first 6 comrades arrested last week, the other 7 comrades were denied bail in a court hearing yesterday and are now languishing in the notorious 'Sun City' goal, awaiting another court hearing on the 23rd September.
All of the arrested comrades will have to appear in court again with the APF having to cover extra legal fees and (if possible) secure the granting a bail for the 7 still in jail. We fully expect that, through the use of the interdict, Johannesburg Water and the City Council will continue to use the police and the notorious Red Ants to arrest more community members as they continue to resist the denial of one of the most basic human rights - the right to water provision. The APF is presently attempting to find ways to legally contest the interdict as well as to secure (through the Promotion of Access to Information Act) information from Johannesburg Water in relation to their pre-paid operations/programme and sanitation programmes - both in Soweto and throughout Johannesburg (so far they have patently refused to accede to requests to provide such information).
The residents of Phiri and the APF/SECC are continuing their resistance and are presently mobilising towards a mass meeting in Phiri in order to take forward the struggle against the pre-paid meters and for the right to water. Comrades, this a a struggle that is centrally important for all poor communities throughout South Africa and indeed, the world. Just as in Cochabamba, just as in Buenos Aires, just as in Auckland, just as in Chicago, just as in so many other cities and communities throughout the globe, the privatisation of water is at the forefront of the capitalist neo-liberal attack on basic human dignity and the public provision of essential services. It is poor communities who are most affected and who are thus at the parallel forefront of resistance. If Johannesburg Water (alongside Suez Lyonnaise des eaux which effectively runs and controls the corporation) and the ANC politicians succeed in their pre-paid water programme in Phiri (the 'pilot project') and in Soweto, then they will soon extend the programme throughout South Africa and, no doubt, push for the same in the Southern Africa region in short time. It will be a huge blow against the struggle against the privatisation of essential services in particular and capitalist neo-liberalism in general. Most of all though, it will be devastating for the lives of the poor of South Africa and the entire region.
The APF is urgently requesting that all allied and concerned comrades, organisations, movements etc. - both within South Africa and internationally - take up this struggle in solidarity with the community of Phiri, the APF/SECC and with the poor of Soweto. For international comrades, spreading the word, public demonstrations/pickets at South African embassies/consulates and messages of solidarity sent to the APF (through drdalet ARROBA <mailto:drdalet ARROBA>) would be most welcome. For South African comrades, embarking on solidarity actions in communities, at universities, at City Council and ANC offices etc. would be greatly beneficial both for our struggles here and throughout South Africa. The writing of political articles in both progressive and mainstream print media (if further information is needed, please contact Dale on drdalet ARROBA <mailto:drdalet ARROBA> ) is also encouraged. The Indy Media collective in South Africa already has video footage of the resistance earlier this week - please get in contact with Comrade Ahmed at ahmed ARROBA <mailto:ahmed ARROBA> . Very crucial at this stage of the struggle is the need for legal defence funds. The APF is already struggling to provide such funds for the comrades who have already been arrested and the intensification of the struggle will ensure that the need for legal defence funds is going to become even greater in the coming weeks and months. We are appealing to all international and South African comrades and organisations/movements to provide whatever financial assistance as is possible to the APF so that we can defend the community activists and our comrades. We also request that South African comrades assist in identifying any avenues of pro bono legal assistance that might be available (it is time for all those 'progressive' lawyers to stand up and be counted!). Any financial assistance given should be sent directly to the APF account as below (for any further information on this front contact the APF Tresurer, Florencia on flor ARROBA <mailto:flor ARROBA>):
Bank Account Information for the APF
Account Name: Anti-Privatisation Forum
Bank: First National Bank
Branch: Bank City
Bank Address: Block A, #3 First Place, Bank City, FNB, Johannesburg, 2000
Branch Code: 250805(00)
Account Number: 62027851452
Type of Account: Cheque
Swift Code: FIRN ZAJJA046
Telephone: 011 352 1338/492 3321/492 3345
Contact Person: Vanitha Maharaj
Foreign Transfer Desk: (27 11) 352 8290 - Tel; (27 11) 352 8219 - Fax – Attn: Paulina
E-bus No: (27) 083 123 3000 (drop the first 0 if international call)
As one of the APF comrades in the community of Orange Farm (jut outside Joahnnesburg in the Vaal Triangle) recently stated in relation to ongoing struggles against the privatisation of water -"The government promised us that water is a basic right, but now they are telling us our rights are for sale ... Destroy the meters and enjoy the water."
In struggle and solidarity,
THE ANTI-PRIVATISATION FORUM (Johannesburg, South Africa)
Mira també:
Sindicat Terrassa